Ferry services see record numbers

A new record number of passengers and vehicles crossing between Malta and Gozo – the fast ferry with a market share of 11%.

2023 marked the highest ever number of passengers and vehicles that travelled between Malta and Gozo. In fact, for the first time the number of vehicles surpassed the 2 million mark while the number of passengers exceeded the 6 million level for the first time.

Delving deeper into the figures, one finds that the number of passengers using the services of Gozo Channel Co. Ltd is still slightly below the pre-pandemic record of 2019, when the number of foot passengers was 5,917,780. The number observed in 2023 was 0.7% less than that record. On the other hand, the number of trips carried out by Gozo Channel was much higher than in 2019, as 34,509 (95 per day) were carried out as against 27,631 in 2019 (76 per day). This shows that the number of trips provided increased by 25%, exceeding the 14% growth in the number of vehicles transported across the Channel.

 20192020202120222023
Vehicles1,782,9091,552,1381,727,6291,960,8152,039,051
Passengers     
Gozo Channel5,917,7803,773,9814,087,0205,218,6245,875,836
Fast ferry364,672476,180693,361

2023 saw the operations of the fast ferry reach its highest level ever. The number of trips made between Valletta and Mġarr rose by 21% to reach 7,417 (20 per day). The frequency of the service is even more seasonal than that of Gozo Channel, as the fast ferry stops operating during rough weather. In fact while in the first quarter just 854 trips were held, in the third quarter the amount was three times higher and exceeded 2,600.

The fast ferry carried 693,361 passengers durign 2023. This meant that it had a share of 11% of the passengers that visited Gozo. In its first two years of operation the fast ferry had a share of 8%. This shows that, with a more extended service, this mode of transport is growing strongly in popularity. 

Had these passengers travelled from Valletta to Mġarr using public transport and Gozo Channel, they would have spent an additional 625,000 hours travelling. On the basis of an average wage per hour of €10, this means that these persons saved €6.3 million in foregone wages by using the faster mode of transport.

Photo: Viktor Vella

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